Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke

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Mary Herbert (Wydeville), Countess of Pembroke

Also Known As: "Mary Woodville"
Birthplace: Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: circa 1481 (33-42)
Tintern, Monmouthshire, Wales (United Kingdom)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers
Wife of William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Earl of Huntingdon
Mother of Elizabeth Somerset, 3rd Baroness Herbert
Sister of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen Consort of England; Anne Woodville, Viscountess Bourchier; Jacquetta Woodville, Baroness Strange; Sir John Woodville; Lionel Woodville, Bishop of Salisbury and 10 others

Occupation: Countess of Pembroke sister of the queen
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke

See Peter Bartrum, (February 1, 2018; Anne Brannen, curator)

Mary Wydeville was born circa 1443.2 She was the daughter of Richard Wydevill, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta de Luxembourg.2 She married William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, son of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke.2 She died before 1481.2

Mary Wydeville was also known as Mary Woodville.[2]

Her married name became Herbert.[2]

Child of Mary Wydeville and William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

  • 1.Elizabeth Herbert, Baroness Herbert+1 b. c 1476, d. bt 29 Jan 1509 - 21 Mar 1513


  • 1.[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume XII/2, page 848. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • 2.[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 124. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Family.


She was one of the many daughters of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and his wife, Jacquetta of Luxembourg. After Edward's public recognition of Elizabeth as his wife, the new queen's five brothers and seven unmarried sisters began to improve their family's rather lowly condition through a series of advantageous marriages, as befitted the kinsfolk of a queen. In September 1466, Mary was betrothed to William Herbert, the eldest son and heir of the first Earl of Pembroke. Lord Herbert had been Henry VII's guardian. The young William was recognized as Lord Dunster in view of his approaching marriage (a grant of the lordship of Dunster and all the possessions of its attainted lord, James Luttrell, in Somerset, Devon and Suffolk, had been secured by his father in June 1463).

In January 1467, Mary Woodville was married to Lord Dunster at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle "amid profuse magnificence." The bride was ten or eleven years old; her groom, aged fifteen.

Two years later, Lord Dunster's father, the first Earl of Pembroke, was executed on the orders of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick. Nothing seems to have aggravated Warwick more than the marriage of the Lady Mary, the Queen's sister, to Herbert's eldest son. Dunster became the second Earl of Pembroke following the death of his father.

Pembroke proved rather ineffectual in governing South Wales. Mary's death in 1479 considerably weakened her husband's links with the prince's associates, and he was forced to give up the earldom of Pembroke for that of Huntingdon, and a less valuable endowment in Somerset and Dorset. He remarried.

Their only child was a daughter, Elizabeth Herbert, 3rd Baroness Herbert, who married Charles Somerset, later Earl of Worcester. Elizabeth was of great importance to the Somerset family, as she brought to them wealth and a legitimate relationship to royalty. The barony of Herbert was created by patent in favor of her husband, although during her lifetime she held the barony of Herbert in her own right.

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Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke's Timeline

Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, England (United Kingdom)
Monmouthshire, Wales
Age 38
Tintern, Monmouthshire, Wales (United Kingdom)